UPS — Shouts of “draft-dodger” and rumors of a FBI arrest have threatened the clean-cut All-American image of the Beach Boys since Carl Wilson, 20, lead guitar, and “cuddliest,” youngest of the three Wilson brothers, refused to submit for induction into the Armed Forces on January 3, 1967.
Claiming Conscientious Objection on the basis of a conflict of values (“My duty to God is far greater than any mortal demand”), Carl’s request was rejected ostensibly on the grounds of late filing. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 5 and entered a plea of “not guilty.”
According to his attorney, J.B. Tietz, a longtime veteran in these matters, Carl’s application was “short circuited, that is, instead of handling it so that he could have the opportunity to talk to the Board (Gardena), and the opportunity to have an administrative appeal (both rights being guaranteed by Congress) the Board handled it so that he was unable to have either.”
Denial of these rights, then, will form the core of Carl’s defense when he faces trial late this month. Until then, he is free on a $25,000 bond and was allowed to join the group in their European tour.
Reports that Carl will go to jail or leave the country rather than serve in any capacity are unfounded, say his lawyer and his father, manager-taskmaster guardian of the Beach Boys for two and a half years. A zealous patriot, Mr. Wilson respects his son for “following his heart” but encourages him to accept a noncombat position. Although Carl has made no official statement on this, he signed statement B on the C.O. application which claims exemption from “both combatant and non-combatant training and service in the Armed Forces.” His specific views on the Vietnamese war are not public.
Those who know Carl consistently describe him as a soft-spoken, intensely religious person. His pacifism is rooted, explains his father, in a deep respect for life, based on the Commandment, which was “hammered” into him as well as his brothers Brian and Dennis during childhood; so that the idea of killing anyone is unthinkable and fills him with “panic.”
He and his lawyer are prepared to use “every defense open to any individual,” and to appeal their case to the highest court if that should become necessary in order to avoid the participation in the horrors of war and “keep those good vibrations happening…”